– C . L . Verma R. A. S. (rtd.)
Some modern historians and sociologists have assumed that the Raigar community is socially and economically backward from its birth. But it is a wrong and biased assumption. Because there are so many facts, which prove that Raigar is an ancient word and they were also of the general social-status in the medieval era. Some of those facts are as bellow:-
(1) A book under the title of “Hindu Castes and Sects(हिंदू जातियां और सम्प्रदाय )”: An exposition of the origin of the Hindu caste system and the bearing of the sects towards each other and towards other religious systems, was written by Jogendranath Bhattacharya in 1896. In this book, it is authentically established that the Raigar(Rehgar) caste is, historically associated with the collecting of saltpetre.
(2) Also an another book under the title of “Lunia Jati Nirnaya(लूणिया जाति निर्णय )” is written by Omdattasharma Gaud. In this book, he has mentioned that as Luniya caste, Rehgars(Raigars) are also Suryavanshi Kshatriyas.
He has also written that Luniya, Nuniya, Nungar, Shorgar, Namakgar, Rehgar(Raigars), Kharwal, Lavana, Labana, Lavaje, Lavniya, Loyani, Lohane, Nunari, Nunera, Aagri etc. are not separate castes. They are only different names of a kind(group) of Indian Kshatriyas caste, who had to engaged into different types of salt works, under some ancient calamities and ultimately, they assigned, sector-wisely to know under different caste names.
No doubt, once upon a time Raigar Kshatriyas were involved into salt and lime business and words like: Lun, Nun, khar, Shor, Lavan, Namak are synonyms of the word “Namak(Salt)”. Although reh means saline soil. But “Reh” syllable, seeing in the word Rehgar is neither a synonym of the word “Namak(Salt)” nor an independent preffix, joined before the Persian word “gar(worker)”.
Secondly, It is also a historically fact that Suryavanshi Rehgar Kshatriyas would live in the era of Vikrmajeet, emperor of Ujiyani(Ujjain), India. But till that time no Persian word like “gar(worker)” entered the boundaries of Aryavart. Actually, the word “Rehgar” is a single word which came in existence, through a process of changing pronunciation of the word “Raghu” as clarified in the point (6).
(3) A Census Report of Marwar Riyasat of Rajputana , 1891 was prepared by officials, related to general Hindu and Muslim castes of India. They mentioned that all religious rituals of the Raigar community were conducted by Chhanyati Brahmins (6 categories of the Main Brahmins). Thus , it can’t be expected that they have prepared a false report. Actually what they had seen, they have written.
Although during the steep fall of the Raigar community, those Chhanyati Brahmans isolated themselves from it. But presently, they have begun again to conduct many religious rituals in posh families of the Raigar community.
(4) As per old Revenue Records(of before independence), many Raigars were big farmers or cultivators.
Raigars would serve in the armies of the local Rajput or Muslim kings. Raigars have been also devoted towards Saties(Those holly ladies burning with body of their deceased husbands). As per, the “Raigar Jati ka Itihas” written by Chandanmal Nawal, R. P. S.(rtd.), there have been many Saties in each and every Gotras of the Raigar Kshatriya Community.
(5) Any work done in any interval by some or more families of a caste or the present occupational state of any caste can’t be defined as a traditional occupational status of that caste. Because the span of the word “traditional” is of thousands years. Thus what livelihood done by some or more Raigar families in the first half of the 20th century A.D. can’t be a base to assume that Raigar community is socially and economically backward from its birth.
(6) Unfortunately after the “Report on Scheduled castes of Rajasthan, prepared under the commission of Kaka Kalalker, 1956” ; the definition of the word “Raigar” is reframed and is being propagated, negatively that “Raigar” is an occupational word. Whereas, originally it is a Kshatriya clan, as like Rathor, Kachhavah etc. Actually, it is a corrupt form of the word “Raghu” or a result of gradual converting pronunciation of the word “Raghu” as :
Raghu→ Ragh → Rag → Ragar → Rahgar → Rehgar → Raigar .
Where,“Raghu” was a famous Suryavanshi king of Ayodhya (India).
Thus the word Rehgar is not a combination of (Reh + gar), even then, in individually both reh and gar are meaningful words. But as per above, both the syllables seeing in the word “Rehgar” have been developed during a long timed of gradual converting pronunciation of the word “Raghu”.
Whereas in the origin of the word “Sagar”, the syllable “gar” is a Sanskrit word, which means “Poison”. In this reference it is also said that a son of Bathuk, a Suryavanshi king of Ayodhya was born with poison on his whole body. So his name was bestowed with the word Sagar by the monk Aurva. That is:
Sagar = Sa(with) + gar(poison) → That is, In Sanskrit language “Sagar” means with poison(अर्थात् सगर का तात्पर्य है- विष सहित ).
(7) Ragh is an ancient city in Badkhshan(Afganistan). At present, it is the head quarter of the district Raghistan. where, Raghistan means the land of Raghas . That is, it seems that Raghuvanshi Raghas who reached there with Kush or other any way, were rulers somewhere in the north-west Aryavart.
Note: A warning
Nobody can use above facts against the social and genealogical rights of Raigar community, living anywhere. Because through above description, it is only an aim to aware what the correct meaning of the word “Raigar or Regar or Raiger or Reger or Regad” is and how knowingly it is being defined wrongly by somebody.